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Unhappy looking woman looking over her shoulder at a man who is speaking harshly to her

How I dealt with being bullied at work

Bullying at work is defined as

“repeated, unreasonable behaviours, where the behaviours create a risk to health and safety”.

Bullying can include such behaviours as:

    • Abusive, insulting, or offensive language;
    • unjustified criticism or complaints; and
  • setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines.

http://beyondbullying.com.au

Have you ever been bullied at work or anywhere else? Are you stuck in a job where you don’t feel appreciated? What are you going to do about it?

Contact me, and let’s talk about it.

A photo of miserable pub dog

The 5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was In A Job That Made Me Miserable

“Transition

It’s amazing how many people are miserable in their jobs. I know I was. Now, thankfully, I’m in a job that I love.

Here are 5 things that I wish I knew when I was stuck in a job that made me miserable.

1. You are not alone

If your job makes you miserable, remember that you are not alone.

I remember when I was in a job where I was being bullied. I felt so isolated and alone, as I thought I was the only one.

But, when I eventually plucked up the courage to tell someone what was going on, I found out that I was not the only one in the office, or even in our section, who was being bullied.

statistics show that 60% of Australian employees are miserable in their jobs. So, there’s a good chance that if you are miserable in your job, some of your colleagues probably are too. So, do some discrete asking around, and find people who are in the same position as you, and reach out to them for support.

Hopefully, you also have friends and family that you can reach out to for support as well. But remember not to dump everything on one person all the time, as it can get exhausting for them.

2. You always have the support of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

If you are a Government employee, EAP is a great source of support from trained counsellors and psychologists.

The great thing about EAP is that it’s free, and is not limited to work issues. It’s open to your family members as well as you.

I have used the service myself, and found it very helpful when I was going through the redundancy process. I was having difficulty coping with being in the office during my redeployment, as I felt very uncomfortable talking to my colleagues who had not been made redundant, as I felt they didn’t know what to say to me, and I didn’t know what to say to them. I felt that I didn’t fit in any more.

The psychologist I spoke to was able to give me some really good strategies for coping with being in the office, and dealing with the feelings of anger and rejection that I was experiencing. She even suggested that I speak to my employer about the possibility of working from home as much as possible.

I really recommend EAP as a great service for finding someone to talk to who is outside your workplace and not emotionally involved, who can give you some great coping strategies for whatever you’re going through at work. For more information, click here.

3. Finding great stuff to do outside work makes life much happier in general

I once was in a job in which I was miserable because I didn’t have enough to do. I know that’s very unusual these days.

So, I started selling Tupperware. It was great! I had something to look forward to every weekend, and sometimes in the evenings during the week. I was going out more than I had in the past, and was meeting lots of new and interesting people.

I’m not necessarily suggesting that you go out and sell Tupperware. But I do recommend that you find something to do after work, or on weekends, that you really enjoy. It will give you something to look forward to on a regular basis, and make it much easier to think about something other than work when you’re not at work.

4. Posting on social media may make you feel better in the short term, but the consequences could be serious

If your job makes you miserable, don’t post about it on social media. Seriously, don’t!

You never know who might see that tweet about how much you don’t like your boss, or that rant on Facebook about how much you hate your job. A friend of your boss might see that post, and pass it on!

If you are applying for jobs, this is particularly important, as there is nothing to stop a potential future employer from checking your social media profiles to see what sort of person you are. You wouldn’t want a future employer to decide not to employ you because they’ve seen a social media post from you complaining about your current job or employer.

I remember when I was doing some work for a nonprofit organisation a few years ago. They were in the process of negotiating a contract with someone, and just out of interest, someone in the organisation had a look at the twitter account of the new contractor. The account contained a number of tweets containing negative remarks about the nonprofit organisation, and so the contract negotiations were cancelled.

If you want to tell someone about how miserable you are in your job, tell your best friend, or your dog, or cat, or pet lizard, or whatever pet you have. Pets are so wonderful aren’t they? You can cry on their shoulders, or tell them anything, and they’ll keep your secrets.

5. Remember to take care of yourself

It’s so easy to forget to look after ourselves in times of stress, and turn to food, alcohol and other substances to make ourselves feel better. My substance of choice was alcohol.

While these substances make us feel better in the short term, it’s important to remember that long term overuse can lead to health problems such as weight gain, heart disease etc.

I used to find that exercise used to help me a great deal. I used to be a ballroom dancer. I could walk into a lesson in a fowl mood, and an hour later, would walk out feeling exhausted, but relaxed and happy. The same went for weightlifting years later.

I hope you’ve found these tips useful. If you have any questions, or would just like to talk about anything that I’ve raised here, please contact me.

Is your job making you miserable? Get support from EAP

Moving from Corporate to Business

If you’d rather watch the Facebook Live video of this content, please here. You don’t have to have a
Facebook account to watch this.

I’ve been writing in the last few blog posts about what to do if your job makes you miserable, and more specifically, who to talk to and how to do that.

In this post, I’d like to mention EAP, which is the Employee Assistance Program. If you are a Government employee, EAP is a great source of support from trained counsellors and psychologists.

The great thing about EAP is that it’s free, and open to your family members as well as you.

I have used the service myself, and found it very helpful when I was going through the redundancy process. The psychologist I spoke to was able to give me some really good strategies for coping with being in the office during my redeployment period.

I really recommend EAP as a great service for finding someone to talk to who is outside your workplace and not emotionally involved, who can give you some great coping strategies for whatever you’re going through at work. Just get the number from your HR area.

Until my next blog post, have a great day, and #DoWhatYouLove

Bullying At Work, and What I Learned

Personal Development for Career Professionals

Bullying at work is defined as “repeated, unreasonable behaviours, where the behaviours create a risk to health and safety”. Bullying can include such behaviours as: • Abusive, insulting, or offensive language;

• unjustified criticism or complaints; and

• setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines.

http://beyondbullying.com.au
In the mid 2000’s, I was bullied at work. I didn’t recognise it as such until afterwards, when a friend put the name “bullying” to what I was describing. The person doing the bullying was my then supervisor. Let’s call her Veronica for the purposes of this article.

Veronica worked part time, and had a couple of days off in the middle of the week, e.g. Wednesday and Thursday. She would often give me a large piece of work to do, some time on Monday, and ask me to have it completed before 5pm Tuesday. This often put me under extraordinary pressure, as the work was more than could reasonably be completed in the short time available. I comforted myself with the thought that perhaps Veronica was requesting this so that she could look at the work whilst she was at home. However, I found out that Veronica very rarely took my work home, and it usually would sit on her desk until she got back on Thursday. So, the deadlines were arbitrary and unnecessary.

Once I did receive the work back, there were often many criticisms, and I would usually have to completely rewrite it. Veronica would often tell me that I had not followed her instructions. She would say that she had asked me to do X, but my clear recollection was that she had asked me to do Y, which was quite different. I could seem to do nothing right. I found this quite distressing, as I am someone who pays careful attention to verbal instructions, and will ask questions to clarify anything I don’t understand.

I eventually refused to take verbal instructions from her, and would only accept instructions in writing, so I had written proof of what she had asked me to do. This made things a little better. However, Veronica then sometimes would replace my name on work with hers, without my knowledge, and then take credit for the work at meetings. The straw that broke the camel’s back was when Veronica referred to me one day as her “worker bee”, which made me feel completely worthless.

My distress and anxiety increased over the months, until it got so bad that I would get chest pains whenever I heard Veronica enter the office first thing in the morning. The first time this happened, I thought I was having a heart attack! Thankfully though, it turned out to be stress related heartburn, for which I had to take medication for many months.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I took a course on emotional intelligence, mainly to get out of the office for the day. The facilitator, Barbara Miller, was an organisational psychologist and a life coach, and so I asked her to take me on as a client to help me cope with what was going on at work.

Over a number of months, I worked with Barbara on rebuilding my shattered self-esteem, and implementing techniques for coping with stress. I learned that my value as a person wasn’t dependent on what others thought of me, but what I thought of myself. I started reciting positive affirmations to myself about my ability and my value during the bus journey to and from work each day. Finally, I began to really believe again that I was a person of value, who had something worthy to contribute.

After 3 months of coaching, I had the strength to do what I knew I had to do. I knocked on Veronica’s door, marched into her office, and told her that “her management style was making me ill”. I said that I would not work with her anymore, and that whilst I looked for another job, I would like to be transferred to another section and work with a different supervisor. Thankfully, she agreed.

I am so grateful to Barbara, and for the work we did together. It saved my sanity, and gave me the strength to get another job, where I worked happily for a number of years. It also taught me about the importance of drawing upon my own beliefs as the main source of my self-esteem, rather than relying entirely on others to make me feel good, or bad, about myself.

Have you ever been bullied at work or anywhere else? Are you stuck in a job where you don’t feel appreciated? What are you going to do about it?

If I can help in any way, please let me know in the comments section or, if you prefer, contact me directly.